By Leigh Beadon
Five Years Ago
This week in 2015, details were continuing to emerge that showed the Paris attackers made very little effort to hide themselves while the French government was using the state of emergency as an excuse to round up climate change activists, and some in the US were using the San Bernadino shooting to push for more domestic surveillance. New problems were being discovered with the UK’s snooper’s charter, while documents were showing that the country’s intelligence agencies were hacking computers with minimal oversight. And there was a fresh attack on encryption from a different direction, as a patent troll started suing all kinds of encrypted websites.
Also this week in 2015, Homeland Security finally returned two domains they had seized for bogus reasons five years earlier, but we’ll talk more about that in our next section…
Ten Years Ago
Yes, it was the very same week in 2010 that we first reported on ICE seizing a bunch of domain names supposedly for intellectual property violations. It immediately looked like a censorship campaign that was stretching the law to its breaking point, and inspection of the targeted websites revealed that many appeared legitimate and some were even embraced by big-name music artists — until Homeland Security eventually admitted that it was taking cues straight from the entertainment industry, further undermining any ability of the US to take a stance against internet censorship worldwide.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2005, we learned more about how the Sony rootkit came to be, and weren’t that surprised to discover that other Sony copy protection tech also had big issues — plus, the rootkit had caught the attention of Eliot Spitzer, and new information revealed that Sony knew about it before it went public. The FCC suddenly changed its tune on a la carte cable programming, with plenty of people weighing in from televangelists (opposed) and Cablevision and AT&T in favor. Meanwhile, ratings giant Nielsen was finally acknowledging the existence of DVRs and introducing its now ubiquitous live-plus-x-days ratings for TV shows.